Category Archives: Health

Forever chemical residue can even be in your house lot 2022-11-27

That house you bought may come with forever chemicals, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), which can harm human (and wildlife) health in many ways.

Florida permits shipping sewage sludge from south Florida to north Florida for agricultural fertilizer. It’s not clear how prevalent the same practice is in Georgia. But from fields it can wash into waterways, and subdivisions may be built on fields that had sludge applied.

[Human health, house PFAS sources]
Human health, house PFAS sources

Marina Schauffler, The Main Monitor, November 27, 2022, Forever exposure, forever anxiety: Coping with the inescapable toxicity of PFAS: Found in water, air, soil, food, consumer products and work settings, “forever chemicals” pose risks to both physical health and mental well-being.

At the end of Joy Road in Fairfield, a steep dead-end road climbs a hillside to a scattering of homes with distant mountain views and some of the higher concentrations of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) the state has found to date in groundwater. The neighbors here live under what one resident, Nathan Saunders, called the “cloud of an unknown future,” fearing how PFAS exposure may erode their health.

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Forever chemicals contaminate Withlacoochee River in Georgia and Florida 2022-10-18

Update 2022-12-24: PFAS contamination may be much more widespread than previously known 2022-10-12.

Hahira, GA, October 18, 2022 — A first-of-its kind study by Waterkeeper Alliance found 83% of the waters tested across the country, and 100% of tested waterways in Georgia and Florida, were contaminated by dangerous PFAS chemicals.

“The PFAS levels we found in the Withlacoochee River were lower than most sites in the U.S., but there should not have been any,” said Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman. “WWALS is working on ways to do more tests to narrow down likely sources and to see how rain events affect the results.”

[Figure 11: bigger circles indicate more contamination]
Figure 11: bigger circles indicate more contamination

The good news: PFAS levels in four test sites on the Withlacoochee River were among the lowest in the study. Still, there are currently no universal, science-based limits on the various PFAS chemicals and their presence is cause for further investigation. For many PFAS chemicals, the EPA has not set a health advisory limit that would give the public a baseline to determine what amount of PFAS is unhealthy in drinking water. In most cases, the EPA is not doing adequate monitoring for these chemicals, which is why these findings are so relevant and important.

The bad news: Continue reading

Sunday Trash reporting cleanup, One Mile Branch, Valdosta’s Lee Street detention pond, 2022-10-23

Second chance to learn Click ‘n’ Fix reporting and seeclickfix.com followup at multiple locations in Valdosta. Come to Valdosta’s Lee Street Detention Pond at 2 PM this Sunday, October 23, 2022. Pick up trash and get a Rivers Alive t-shirt!

More people involved will improve public health, quality of life, and eco-tourism, while providing community involvement.

We invite all Valdosta City officials, especially Stormwater Division and Public Works, to come instruct us in how it should be done.

We will start at Valdosta’s Lee Street detention pond (highlighted in the map), where the city recently installed a trash trap it made and later added a net. Since Valdosta from time to time cleans that pond out, there should not be much trash in there.

So we will forage farther afield. In addition to trash, we’re looking for trash cans in parking lots: if they’re not there, they should be according to Valdosta’s own ordinances, so you can report them missing.

[Trash trap, map, Lee St. Detention Pond, Valdosta, GA]
Trash trap, map, Lee St. Detention Pond, Valdosta, GA

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Comment on FERC LNG Export Rulemaking with Florida Physicians for Social Responsibility, 2022-09-20

Update 2022-10-04: WWALS response to FERC on opposition comments of Pivotal LNG about small, inland LNG Rulemaking 2022-10-04.

Florida Physicians for Social Responsibility has invited Suwannee Riverkeeper to talk about the FERC Rulemaking on small, inland, LNG export facilities on the comment deadline day, as FL PSR members and others write comments on that FERC Docket RM22-21.

You do not have to attend this zoom meeting to comment or intervene. Here’s how:
https://wwals.net/?p=59062#tocomment

Please comment or intervene as timely as you can before the comment deadline of 5PM, Tuesday, September 20, 2022. However, a FERC attorney advises us that the Commission usually considers comments filed after the deadline, so if you can’t comment by 5PM, comment anyway.

When: 7 PM – 7:45 PM, Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Register: for zoom

Event: facebook,

[FL PSR & WWALS comment on FERC LNG Export]
FL PSR & WWALS comment on FERC LNG Export

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QUARTERMAN in VDT: Sewage situation better, trash needs work 2022-05-21

John S. Quarterman, Valdosta Daily Times, May 21, 2022, QUARTERMAN: Sewage situation better, trash needs work,

Thanks to Valdosta for no sewage disasters since December 2019. Some manholes still need fixing, such as at Wainwright Drive on One Mile Branch.

But Valdosta’s mayor, council and staff seem to be staying ahead of the sewage situation, for example by buying 37 emergency generators, one for each lift station.

[John S. Quarterman]
John S. Quarterman

Now Valdosta needs to get a grip on its trash problem.

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Still there: Two acres of trash on Valdosta City land at VLPRA HQ, above One Mile Branch 2022-03-09

Update 2022-04-13: Floating trash in cypress swamp below VLPRA HQ in Valdosta 2022-04-13.

As previously mentioned, there are two acres of trash on land owned by the City of Valdosta, just south of VLPRA headquarters, at the corner of Barack Obama Blvd. and Ricardo Street, Behind the Pepsi Adopt-A-Spot sign, near the top of One Mile Branch.

In Valdosta’s own Seeclickfix map, you can see the site just across Barack Obama Blvd. from a drainage canal that runs into One Mile Branch just upstream from Vallotton Park.

[Map: Seeclickfix VLPRA HQ, One Mile Branch, Vallotton Park https://seeclickfix.com/issues/12055148]
Map: Seeclickfix VLPRA HQ, One Mile Branch, Vallotton Park https://seeclickfix.com/issues/12055148

This water quality and public health problem was first reported through Valdosta’s Click ‘n’ Fix smartphone app on March 9, 2022, it got some acknowledgement after another report on March 21st, but no cleanup seems to have happened.

Some of the city officials named in these comments are scheduled to be at a meeting with WWALS this afternoon. Maybe they’re waiting on that meeting to schedule a cleanup. We shall see.

Meanwhile, notice the variety of commenters who do not work for the city. First, all the comments from the March 21st report: Continue reading

Location of Quitman sewage spill 2022-03-20

Update 2022-04-08: All rivers bad water quality 2022-04-07.

Quitman’s 48,000 gallon sewage spill on Sunday, March 20, 2022, was from the Quitman settling ponds, which are slightly uphill from Okapilco Creek. Which explains why Valdosta got too-high E. coli at US 84 on Okapilco Creek, and at Knights Ferry, Nankin, and State Line Boat Ramps downstream on the Withlacoochee River.

We know this location because of the response to the WWALS open records request to Quitman asking where is this “Influent Liftstation”:

GPS 30.793581, -83.544316
800 North Highland Dr

This has been going on for years. For example, the April 24, 2022 spill from the same location contaminated the Withlacoochee River and the Suwannee River probably as far as Running Springs, if not all the way to the Gulf.

The form Quitman’s contractor sent GA-EPD says the spill was not preventable. Well, according to Quitman’s permit from GA-EPD, “Power failure” is not an excuse, because the permitee is supposed to have backup power. It’s time for Quitman to find a way to prevent these spills from contaminating Okapilco Creek and the Withlacoochee and Suwannee Rivers. This is a public health hazard.

What will the Georgia Environment Protection Division (GA-EPD) do to stop these spills from Quitman, and meanwhile to get much more timely reporting by Quitman to GA-EPD and to the public?

[Map and doc: location of Quitman sewage spill]
Map and doc: location of Quitman sewage spill

It’s only 1.10 creek miles to US 84, and 5 creek miles all the way down Okapilco Creek to the Withlacoochee River. Then 3.68 river miles more to Knights Ferry Boat Ramp, for 8.68 water miles total. At even two miles per hour, that’s less than five hours for contamination to travel. Continue reading

Last day to oppose HB 1150 Bad Neighbor Bill in Georgia legislature 2022-04-04

Please use this handy form: https://www.protectgeorgia.org/farm.html#/334.

[Hog CAFO manure lagoons. Photo: Kemp Burdette]
Hog CAFO manure lagoons. Photo: Kemp Burdette.

Jeff Amy, U.S. News & World Report via AP, April 1, 2022,

The Senate voted 31-23 for House Bill 1150, sending it back to the House for final approval of changes.

Today is Sine Die, the last day before the legislature adjourns until next year. So there’s no time for a conference committee to resolve differences between the House and Senate versions of HB 1150. The House can only vote to approve the Senate version, or not. Continue reading

Need better trash boom on Sugar Creek 2022-03-31

WWALS has made a good try with home-made trash booms. They don’t work with heavy rains: trash goes under and over, and sometimes they come loose. Trash the boom doesn’t catch washes downstream into the Withlacoochee River, right past where Valdosta and Lowndes County propose to fund building the Troupville River Camp and Nature Park, and on to Florida.

Need stronger trash booms with nets to help fix this public health trash problem. Fortunately, several of those are available at reasonable prices.

Valdosta has spent far more money on fixing its sewage problem, with much progress (and still room for improvement). Buying a few trash traps and cleaning them out would cost less than fixing one sewer line. Stopping the trash upstream at its source in fast foot parking lots would not cost much, either, since Valdosta already has excellent trash ordinances. WWALS is discussing solutions with Valdosta.

[Boom, trash caught, trash not caught]
Boom, trash caught, trash not caught

And maybe some of the obvious sources of this trash would like to be part of the solution: Jackson Hewitt, Chick-fil-A, Zacadoo’s, Polar Pop (Circle K), KFC, Bud Light (Anheuser-Busch), Coca-Cola, Dr. Pepper, Murphy USA, Gator Aid (PepsiCo), and all those water bottle manufacturers, starting with Nestle, oh, I mean BlueTriton. Local companies or franchises can clean up their parking lots, put out trash cans, and keep emptying them. Bigger companies can sponsor trash traps and other solutions.

For a summary of the trash problem, see: https://wwals.net/issues/trash/

Boom replaced 2022-03-20

Thanks to Continue reading

Bottle Bills work, and can be further improved 2022-03-15

A new report by Reloop North America finds that even five northeast U.S. states that have bottle recycling bills could greatly improve those for significant economic benefits (jobs), as wellas benefits to health, and environment ranging from less litter in creeks and streams to reduced greenhouse gases, with less stress on local and state governments. Bottle bill benefits would be even greater in Georgia or Florida, which do not yet have them.

[Deposit and Reuse]
Deposit and Reuse

Alex Kamczyc, Recycling Today, March 18, 2022, Reloop releases study on modernizing deposit return systems,

Reloop North America, New York, has released research showing how five states with bottle bills could improve environmental and economic conditions by modernizing their deposit return systems (DRS). The five states are Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New York and Vermont.

“We did this study because time is not on our side,” says Elizabeth Balkan, director of Reloop North America. “The environmental implications of waste-based manufacturing and over-consumption demand urgent action. In the Northeast, more than 400 beverage containers per person are buried, burned or littered annually. We need to take action now so that bottles remain bottles and cans remain cans.”…

“Cities and towns across New York state as, as with cities and towns across the U.S. are struggling to keep their recycling programs afloat,” Balkan says. “Glass is a huge problem. And if you could pull that glass out of the recycling of the curbside recycling system and run it through the state’s bottle bill program, it would not only alleviate a huge operational burden for cities, but it’s going to save them a ton of money.”…

If that’s the case in states that already recycle around 69% of their beverage containers, bottle bills would be even more beneficial in states such as Georgia and Florida that do not yet have them. Continue reading